A Schue In
THE first part of an in-depth interview with Argyle’s assistant manager Steven Schumacher, who looks at his move to Home Park and pitch-side demeanour.
Steven Schumacher: Argyle’s assistant manager, Ryan Lowe’s best mate. As a player, Schumacher was industrious, orchestrating those around him from the heart of the pitch. Now a coach, the former midfielder has implemented that same work ethic into his coaching career, but what about the man behind the footballer?
His friendship with Ryan began when they both played for Crewe in 2006. Perhaps an unusual partnership given that the duo pledge their allegiances to teams situated on opposite sides of the Mersey divide; with Ryan a Red, and Schuey - as he is affectionately known - a Blue.
Despite their differences, in Merseyside derbies and in personality, the two have already achieved promotion once from this division, in trying circumstances at Bury, which led to the call from the decision-makers at Home Park.
“We got a phone call a couple of days after the season ended, saying ‘Plymouth Argyle would be interested in speaking to you,’” he said of Argyle’s request to interview Lowe and his assistant. “Who wouldn’t want to speak to Argyle?”
From that moment on, Schuey had a desire to relocate to the southernmost reaches of the country in pursuit of another meaty coaching project. Despite the similarities at coaching level, and a number of players who followed the pair down from Bury, the Everton academy graduate was aware that his challenge would be very different to the one undertaken at Gigg Lane.
“We understand that what we did last year was great, but last year’s gone. We have to do it all over again,” he says. “A group that were here got relegated, there’s also a group that got promoted, and a third group that are completely new to it.
“To bring them all together and make them gel, takes time. It doesn’t happen in six weeks, it may not happen in six months, but, hopefully by the end of the season, you can see the work behind the scenes come to fruition, and we’re in a position that the fans can be proud of.”
Our performance on the opening day of the Sky Bet League Two season could hardly have gone any better from a fans’ perspective, winning comprehensively against Crewe on their own turf. However, despite the large scoreline against one of Schumacher’s former clubs, Argyle’s number two was still aware that there were many challenges ahead.
He was pictured scowling on the touchline amidst jubilant celebrations in the aftermath of our first three-point haul of the campaign, prompting many to wonder if he enjoyed the result at all. Thankfully, he assures us that he was celebrating on the inside, although he is always looking to iron out a few imperfections. His mentality is such that he wants to achieve excellence as a Pilgrim.
“I celebrate as much as anyone, when it’s the right time. I’m always thinking how we can get better. I’m trying to see the objective side of it,” he explains. “I always look as though I’m fuming every time someone takes a picture of me. I’m not, I’m ecstatic on the inside. But, there’s always something on my mind, thinking ‘well, that could be better.’ Sometimes, I may not look as devastated as I am when we lose, because I can see the positives. I try and stay level and grounded. It’s going to take time, it’s a process.”